Legislators, lobbyists and Leno: Yikes

By Ned Cantwell: State coulumnist

This is a wonderful time of year for civics students. They get to see how the system works here in New Mexico.

Here’s how it works. We pay tax when we fill the tank, earn a paycheck, or eat a meal at a restaurant. For the test at the end of the term, note these are called the “gas tax,” the “income tax,” and the “you gotta be kidding me” tax.
All this money is sent to Santa Fe.

Then each of our towns and hamlets get together and elect men and women to send to Santa Fe. We call these people legislators, and by “legislators,” we mean “dazed-looking humans who walk in circles.” That’s why we call their building the Roundhouse.

The job of legislators is to take all the money we have sent to Santa Fe and give it to somebody else. Here’s the good part. They may even give some of the money back to you.
But you have to hire a lobbyist.

This business of distributing your money to someone else is quite serious. Among the issues expected to be taken up this session is whether to invest $7.6 million in two horror films. Our informants suggest one will star Gov. Bill Richardson as the “Super-Sized Snickers Bar Monster.”

You just can’t deal with these weighty issues without a little mirth from time to time. So look for your legislators, late in the session, to yuk it up with some silly law that, for instance, makes Yahtzee, popular among Indian school children, the “Official Hand-Held Electronic Game of New Mexico.”

Before we get totally involved in this super serious season, a time when even goofy columnists have to put on a grim face, let’s take a moment to follow up on a couple of lighter stories on New Mexico’s news pages.

We’re talking here, of course, about the mouse that burned down the house. Some guy in Fort Sumner said a mouse caught on fire in a burning pile of leaves, scampered into his home, burned it down.

There is some discussion now about the veracity of this burning tail tale. Nonetheless, the “mouse burned my house” is the ultimate evolution of the “dog ate my homework” line.

It is indicative of the sorry state of the press that this story “sparked international media interest,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.

One more thing before we move on to spending the 18 gadzillion dollars the state rakes from the oil industry, I would like to offer a word of defense to the Santa Fe lady who got a restraining order against David Letterman.

This woman claims that Dave was causing much mental anguish by using code words to show he wants to marry her and train her as a co-host. “Oprah,” for instance, was a code word. So when Dave said, “Marry me, Oprah” he was really sending a signal to this Santa Fe lady. See how it works?
It is indicative of the sorry state of the judiciary that a Santa Fe judge actually approved this temporary restraining order, since lifted.

Nonetheless, the story prompts a confession here. Jay Leno HATES me. Whenever you hear him say, “Did you hear the one about…” Yep, directed right at me. Code for, “Ned’s an idiot.”

Maybe so. But my Yahtzee score record is 711. Top that.

Ned Cantwell welcomes uncoded response at: ncantwell@charter.net